Category Archives: Ecclesiology

The Wild Goose Festival

Wild Goose Festival 2011What do wildness, geese, and the Holy Spirit have in common?

How about social justice, spirituality, art, music, and camping?

In a little over a month, the US version of the longstanding Greenbelt Festival will plant its tent pegs, portable generators, and biodegradable  soap dispensers firmly into the North Carolina soil.

If done right, this could be more than Greenbelt 2.0.  This could be a chance to rip theological authority from power grip of empire assumptions, colonial presumptions, and the religious elite – to open up faith & spirituality to dialogue, discourse, and subaltern perspectives in an uniquely American context.

Ok, maybe that’s hoping for a little bit much.  Who knows, it could go any which way if the Wild Goose* shows up!

Check out the Wild Goose website and the Wild Goose blog.  See you there?

*The Wild Goose is a Celtic metaphor for the Holy Spirit.  The Wild Goose Festival is followers of Jesus creating a festival of justice, spirituality, music and the arts.  The festival is rooted in the Christian tradition and therefore open to all regardless of belief, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, denomination or religious affiliation.

Saint Sabina Sets the Record Straight

The Faith Community of Saint Sabina  feels disrespected – and I don’t blame them.

In a full page advertisement, in the May 4th edition of the Sun Times, the leadership of Saint Sabina took on that most difficult of tasks: setting the record straight.  It is clear that the official narrative being espoused by Cardinal George doesn’t paint the clearest picture of the way events unfolded or why Father Michael Pfleger was suspended from the active ministry.

Here is the full page:

Saint Sabina advertisement from May 4, 2011 Sun Times

Letter to Cardinal George

The following is a letter to Cardinal George signed by Pastors of 14 Black Catholic Parishes in Chicago.  This document, as well as other correspondence relating to Father Michael Pfleger’s suspension, is available on the website of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina.

Letter to Cardinal George regarding Father PflegerLetter to Cardinal George regarding Father Pfleger

Let Father Pfleger stay at Saint Sabina

Walter's Perspective CBS Chicago Father Pfleger

Last night CBS Chicago aired a segment of Walter’s Perspective, with Walter Jacobson.  The segment addressed the recent consideration of Cardinal George and the Archdiocese of Chicago to remove Father Michael Pfleger from the Faith Community of Saint Sabina.

The move would go against the wishes of Father Pfleger, the wishes congregation itself, and, as Jacobson points out, the wishes of the the community Saint Sabina is a part of.  The wishes and vision of the community seem like an important perspective – one that is frequently ignored in a world of corporate driven paradigms for church leadership and hierarchy from outside and above.

Father Pfleger meets attendees at the 2011 Hallett Lecture

Fr. Pfleger meets attendees at the 2011 Hallett Lecture

As SCUPE has always had context driven theology at its core, this perspective of those in the context, is one we believe needs to be heard and taken into account.  Two night ago, before the Hallett Lecture at Loyola University, I walked across the street the the offices of the Archdiocesan offices and hand delivered two letters expressing this point from my personal perspective.  I hope that the Cardinal and church leadership will be open to the voice of the congregation, community, and the Spirit in their deliberation on the future of Father Pfleger and Saint Sabina.

Please consider lending your voice in support of Father Pfleger and Saint Sabina by writing to these two individuals:

Francis Cardinal George
Archdiocese of Chicago
835 North Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611
312-534-8219 Office
312-534-6379 Fax

Priest’s Placement Board
Archdiocese of Chicago
835 North Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611
312-534-5270 Office
312-534-5281 Fax

Father Michael Pfleger invites you to work for Peace

“Are we going to be a part of raising the consciousness and of bring about the solutions or is the church going to continue to just see itself as doing the benedictions, and doing the eulogies, and doing the counseling after violence takes the lives of our children and of our brothers and our sisters?”

Father Michael PflegerFather Michael Pfleger shares a message about the need to work for peace in our society and inviting people to be peacemakers in a culture of violence.  Father Pfleger is co-chair of the SCUPE’s 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry to be held in Chicago on March 1-4, 2011.

You can register now at

Peace in a Culture of Violence

“In light of what has just happened in Tucson, Arizona I think addressing the violence is a major and crucial step in regaining our voice.  We have to somehow raise the issue in not only the violence that is tearing apart our families and our communities but is literally killing the future of our children.  And the church has been far too silent”

Hope, Imagination and Prophetic Preaching

The Art of Prophetic Preaching in the Urban ContextHow can hope transform the lives of individuals and communities?

What does it mean to be prophetic?

Where is imagination essential in incarnating the gospel?

Paulo FreireIn the newest episode of the SCUPE Congress podcast we delve into the human spiritual need for hope and the role of imagination in conveying the Kingdom of God. We talk with SCUPE’s President Emeritus and Founding Director Dave Frenchak, on the bustling streets of Chicago, about fostering the rich tradition of prophetic preaching in our lives and in our current day and age.

Highlights include: a preached introduction by Yvonne Delk, excerpts of Dave and Otis Moss III teaching their preaching class, a look at the work of Brazilian educator and pedagogical theorist Paulo Freire, and a nice smattering of sirens and cars noises!

Also, learn about the various other opportunities SCUPE offers to those interested in urban ministry, seminary education, and a model of doing theology that goes beyond classical paradigms that focus solely on learning about theology.

Available here:SCUPE Podcast Library

Points of Light towards the Beloved Community

Dr Martin Luther King JrA couple weekends ago I was down in Atlanta visiting my brother and we had an amazing Sunday down at the King Center and Ebenezer Baptist.  As someone who has idolized Dr. King since high school and who has found his writings and sermons to be constant companions along my journey of understanding racism, equality, and social justice based in a vision of the Beloved Community it was truly a pilgrimage for me.  Standing outside of the house where Martin was born on Auburn Avenue and to see it preserved brought all of the books I have read about King growing up and developing come to life in a way which connected me with, not only the history of the civil rights movement but also, the possibilities of his dream for our day and age.

Ebenezer Baptist ChurchI was also very pleased to see that the exhibit didn’t just stop with Dr. King’s work in the civil rights movement but also touched upon his work as it developed to address the related evils of poverty and militarism.  I was honestly biting my tongue anticipating that the Poor People’s Campaign and King’s  speech and marches against the Vietnam war would be excluded.

Walking through those pictures just down from the street where he grew up and the church where he pastored when he was killed made this man and the movement he has come to exemplify come to life in a way which begs the question: why not now?  What is holding the people of this country from rising up again as a un-ignorable voice and force for peace and justice?  What would it take for we the people, in the midst of this increasingly global awareness, to believe that the world which God intends is indeed a possibility and that we have an enormous power as united people to bring this new world into being?

Michael Pfleger at International Civil Rights Hall of FameOn the way back to the car I made a more intentional stop at the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame as was cheered as I saw the foot prints of Michael Pfleger.  In addition to working with Father Pfleger in his role as co-chair of the 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry I also had the privilege of doing an internship at the Faith Community of St. Sabina.   This amazing church and its faith-filled congregants have taught me more about living out faith than three whole years of seminary.  Quite a portion of my hope for the continuation of Dr. King’s dream comes from having experienced this community and having been deeply moved by their spirit and faith.

Good work is being done  in the churches, synagogues, mosques, and community development organizations across this county.  We must learn to lift up these points of light in spite of the seeming prevailing of darkness and to encourage our communities to be inspired by the Spirit which is surely at work even now.

Here’s a recent, ten minute interview with Rev. Dr. Michael L. Pfleger on the Tavis Smiley show.